LG Display swings to third-quarter profit on Apple demand, panel price boost

A man walks out of the headquarters of LG Display in Seoul
FILE PHOTO: A man walks out of the headquarters of LG Display in Seoul, October 20, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak/File Photo

October 22, 2020

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd <034220.KS> on Thursday reported a profit for July-September, ending a six-quarter run of loss, helped by shipments for Apple Inc’s <AAPL.O> new iPhones and stay-at-home trends lifting panel demand for TVs and laptops.

The display maker posted operating profit of 164 billion won ($144.77 million) for the third quarter, versus a loss of 437 billion won in the same period a year earlier.

The result compared with the 64 billion won Refinitiv SmartEstimate derived from 17 analyst estimates.

Revenue rose 16% to 6.7 trillion won, LG Display said in a regulatory filing.

Prices for LG Display’s main product, 55-inch liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for television sets, climbed 20% in the third quarter from a year earlier, showed data from WitsView, part of research provider TrendForce.

Analysts said panel prices have gone up as there has been a surge in worldwide demand for televisions and monitors from people working and learning remotely due to the novel coronavirus.

“Owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of TV sets in North America have remained sky-high, meaning the upswing of TV panel prices that began in the third quarter is now persisting into the fourth quarter,” said WitsView analyst Eric Chiou.

“LG Display was able to post a profit thanks to strong panel prices and its plant has been operating at higher capacity to ship mobile panels for Apple’s new iPhone models,” said analyst Park Sung-soon at Cape Investment & Securities.

Park said current demand for screens from Apple and other smartphone makers will likely fall away after the holiday shopping seasons, weighing on LG Display’s future profit.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Christopher Cushing)